While Maze Runner fans still have a ways to go until The Death Cure hits theaters, we did get a special treat last week in the release of The Fever Code. In this exciting prequel novel by James Dashner, readers meet Thomas, Teresa, and other Glader favorites before they ever set foot in the Maze. But if you think that means you know what’s coming, think again – because Dashner still has a few tricks up his sleeves.
We caught up with the Maze Runner author at The Fever Code launch event in Glendale, CA to talk everything from revisiting familiar faces to saying goodbye to the Maze Runner series… not to mention The Death Cure movie and what’s next for this awesome author.
Read our full interview with James Dashner below (+ enter to win a copy of The Fever Code!):
For those not yet in the know, what can you tell us about the plot of The Fever Code?
James Dashner: The Fever Code is a prequel, so I know a lot of people will think they know exactly what it’s about because basically they know how it ends – it ends where Maze Runner starts. But I worked really hard to tell the story in a way that there’s still a lot of surprises. The general plot is we see Thomas and pretty much everyone else from the original trilogy from when they were pretty small up to the moment Thomas enters the Maze – and all the crazy stuff that happens in between. A lot of little things that were alluded to in the original trilogy show up in this book, so I’m excited.
The Fever Code is a prequel to The Maze Runner. How much of this story was already in your head as you were writing the original series?
Dashner: Quite a bit of it, especially just general images and events. Some of it I had mapped out. But this book was something that I had planned on writing years ago, even before The Maze Runner came out. I just think the story really lends itself to prequels, with all the mystery and memories wiped and that sort of thing. It’s been in my head a long time.
As Maze Runner fans know, the Thomas and Teresa we meet in the Maze don’t remember who they were before they woke up in the Glade. With The Fever Code taking place prior to that event, how different will those two be from the characters we know and love?
Dashner: I think at their core, they are who they are. [But] I think you’ll definitely see a difference, especially because we jump into the story when they were really young, and we see them grow up in some ways. I guess I’ll just say there are some surprises regarding both of them that people may not see coming – and that actually may cause them to look at the original trilogy in a little bit of a different light.
What was it like to revisit some of the characters who die later on in the series?
Dashner: It was kind of fun. It was like resurrecting them or something. It was just really fun and surreal to have all these characters together again, alive, and have all this dialogue and scenes with people that – you know, it’s been years, since I was writing the original books. That was really run for me.
You’ve said previously that this will be the final Maze Runner book. Is that still the case, and if so – how does it feel to be saying goodbye to the Maze Runner series (at least in book form)?
Dashner: For now, it’s definitely goodbye. I can’t fathom writing another book, at least not in any kind of near future. So it’s very bittersweet to say goodbye to it, but I’m also ready to move on and try some new stuff. But I will miss it. It’s been a huge part of my life – basically 10 years. It feels like there will be an empty spot, but it’s definitely the right way to end the series, I think.
Of course we still have The Death Cure movie to look forward to. I know filming has yet to resume, but is there anything you can tease about what fans can look forward to from that?
Dashner: Yeah – they’re going to start filming early in the winter, and it’s scheduled for release in January of ’18. I’ve read the script and I feel very good about it. I think it’s closer to the spirit of the story of the books than maybe the second film was. I feel really good about it. I think it’s just gonna be insanely exciting – a lot of intrigue, just a really energetic, crazy way to wrap up the trilogy of movies.
And will we be seeing you in the movie?
Dashner: I’m hoping so. As of right now, the plan is to make that happen – to have another cameo.
You and the Maze Runner series have such an incredible fandom. Is there anything you’d like to say to the Dashner Army?
Dashner: I wish they could know just how unbelievably thankful I am for what they’ve done. I’m able to basically do my hobby for a living because of all these fans out there who have supported me – buying my books, going to the movies. But most importantly, I love seeing their interactions on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook – all that stuff.
One of the coolest things is that a lot of them have become friends through the books. Just this week, someone from England was getting together with someone from the States; they had become friends through the books. That’s really neat to me. I just love them. I’m thankful for their passion and truly, truly grateful for what they’ve given to my life.
What’s next for you?
Dashner: I think I’m going to write a thriller/horror novel. I’m already working on it, experimenting with it. I really want to do a standalone type of story – take a little break from series, try some different things… Maybe pursue my idol, Stephen King, and follow the inspiration of him a little bit. I think it’s gonna be pretty awesome. That’s probably what’ll come next.
Win The Fever Code!
Want to win a copy of The Fever Code? Tell us who your favorite character from the Maze Runner series is in the comments or tweet us @fangirlishness. US only. A winner will be randomly selected on 10/12.
To find out more about James Dashner and The Fever Code, visit jamesdashner.com.
The Fever Code is available now.